Published on: October 19, 2021



What is in news : New Delhi suggested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) consider ‘escape clause’ for countries, relying on flexibilities in trade agreements, to avoid disputes while tackling the current pandemic and any other in future under TRIPS

Details :

  • The proposal, floated last year by India and South Africa, is now sponsored by 64 members and seeks to facilitate access to Covid medicines.
  • At a meeting of the General Council of the organisation a few days ago, India suggested that the WTO Secretariat catalogue the flexibilities under the existing pacts and rules that could be relaxed, to enable members to respond effectively to pandemics and natural disasters.


  • Came into force in 1995
  • Part of the agreement that established the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • Establishes minimum standards for the availability, scope, and use of seven forms of intellectual property namely, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, patents, industrial designs, layout designs for integrated circuits, and undisclosed information or trade secrets.
  • Lays down the permissible exceptions and limitations for balancing the interests of intellectual property with the interests of public health and economic development.
  • Most comprehensive international agreement on IP and it has a major role in enabling trade in creativity and knowledge, in resolving trade disputes over intellectual property, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic policy objectives.
  • Frames the IP system in terms of innovation, technology transfer and public welfare.
  • TRIPS Council is responsible for administering and monitoring the operation of the TRIPS Agreement.
  • Negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986–1994.
  • The TRIPS Agreement is also described as a “Berne and Paris-plus” Agreement.